With our luggage sent ahead and a day pack with a toothbrush (that was our guide's suggestion) and some things that I consider essential, we caught a train to Tenri Station in the Nara Basin to begin our walk along the Yamanobe Road. The Yamanobe Road is Japan's oldest transit route; it connected Japan's 6th century capitals of Miwa and Nara.
Today's walking journey began with a stroll from the Tenri Rail Station through a mall to the Tenrikyo Church. Tenrikyo or Tenriism is a monotheistic, Shinto-derived new religion established in the 19th century based on the teachings of a Japanese woman named Nakayama Miki. Tenrikyo teaches/promotes the Joyous Life cultivated through acts of charity and mindfulness. Today there are about 2 million followers worldwide with 1.75 million of those in Japan.
|Tenrikyo Church and Headquarters|
|A cow statue as the abode for a Kami|
|A peach tree with each peach protected by a bag|
At one of the peach orchards, Dan was mesmerized by the bagging by hand of each peach. No wonder Japanese produce is displayed like fine jewelry with commensurate pricing.
There is a shrine to sumo along the Yamamobe no Michi trail. This is believed to be the place that sumo originated and the legendary wrestler Nomi no Sukune (1st Century BCE) is possibly enshrined here.
Oomiwa Shrine is Japan's oldest shrine. The object of worship here is Mount Miwa behind it. Mt. Miwa is a sacred mountain in the Shinto religion and is revered as the mountain of the Gods.
We walked the Yamanobe no Michi trail north to south about 14km/8.7 miles on a hot day and the trail was mostly exposed as it wound its way through fields and orchards. This walk would be much more pleasant when it is cooler in early spring when rice has been planted and fruit trees are in bloom or in the fall when deciduous trees wear their autumn colors. Because we were all pretty exhausted by the heat, we left the trail earlier than planned, took a train to Sakurai Station and then another one to Asuka where we were met by our hostess who took us to our night's lodging. We stayed in her lovely home with its beautifully landscaped grounds.
While this house looks like it is in suburbia and they even had WiFi, behind the house is acres of farm land.